Ebey's Landing

Balance and subtlety.

I think the photo caption is an apt description for my experience of assisting and teaching with Sam over these last nine years. The contemplation of balance and subtlety, along with justness, dimensionality, micro-composition, and an appreciation for how things are without amendment or enhancement, has been the basis for how I’ve aspired to see for all these years.

It’s true that I will underscore intent at various times with alternative lenses and formats. But the underlying structure of the photograph must ring true. The seeing must have authenticity.

The level of work produced this past week was unusually high. That is gratifying for teachers. But it also spread a congeniality and high sense of purpose throughout the class. Students recognized the rare opportunity to reach and they supported one another in this. That is even more gratifying. The Pacific Northwest Art School supplies the foundation for this kind of stretching with their warmth and welcoming attitude. Sam and I seek to underscore this by offering compassionate criticism along with discussions that illuminate new concepts.

I was unusually quiet this week. Normally it’s a much more collaborative effort. But I recognized the student’s desire to hear as much as possible from the Master. They were all leaning forward! So I took this opportunity to listen intently myself. One morning, late in the week, we had a fog bank rise up from the Sound and slip over the bluff and onto the prairie. I stopped for just a minute, made three exposures, and then continued to class.

I think the image speaks not only to the themes of the class, but is also a guidepost for going forward. Greater subtlety, balance, and a certain quietude. Those are the images I’ll be seeking.